Aaron Rodgers' move to the Jets has certainly . But if anyone rivals Gang Green for abruptly lofted standards going into the 2023 NFL season, it's the Lions. Coach Dan Campbell is all too aware, telling reporters on the first day of training camp that the "hype train" surrounding Detroit is "out of control right now."
"I think as always, the thing that's gonna worry you is the hype train," Campbell said Sunday, per ESPN. "I mean, as with most coaches, this thing is just taking off and it's out of control right now and that's fine, as long as we stay focused on the job at hand and the work. I just keep going back to that. We've got to put the work in and earn it."
What, exactly, does Campbell mean when he says "this thing is just taking off"? Start with the fact the Lions haven't won a playoff game since 1991, haven't made the postseason in seven years, and yet are current betting favorites to win the NFC North, with the fourth-best odds to claim the entire NFC, behind only playoff regulars in the Eagles, Cowboys and 49ers.
The Lions are also sudden TV darlings, with five different prime-time games scheduled for 2023, including the season opener against the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs. Before the NFL announced Rodgers and the Jets as this year's training-camp focal point on HBO's annual "Hard Knocks" series, the league reportedly eyed Detroit as a top alternative, even though they were featured in 2022.
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Much of the "hype train" comes from Lions' late-year turnaround in 2022, when Campbell oversaw an 8-2 record in the club's final 10 games, including a Week 18 upset of the seemingly playoff-bound Packers. Detroit has also had a busy offseason, remaking its secondary with physical starters like Cameron Sutton and C.J. Gardner-Johnson, while injecting offensive speed with first-round running back Jahmyr Gibbs. Campbell's locally revered old-school personality is just the cherry on top.
As the coach indicated Sunday, the pieces may be in place, but only time will tell if the bar truly belongs so high.